Forbes' annual list of the world's Power Women isn't about fame or fortune － it's about influence. And yes, gals, size matters.
Putting together this year's list of the top 100 most powerful women worldwide, Forbes considered two qualities: how many media mentions the women got; and how big of an organization or country the women lead.
Number one for the fourth consecutive year is German Chancellor Angela Merkel [above], leader of the world's fourth-largest economy. Runner-up at number two is Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chair Sheila Bair, who has overseen the orderly takeover of 77 banks to date this year, while fighting big boys like Fed Chair Ben Bernanke and U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner for more power for her agency.
The list is largely corporate, with numbers 3, 4 and 6-10 all big-business CEOS － Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo, Cynthia Carroll of Anglo American, Irene Rosenfeld of Kraft Foods, Ellen Kullman of DuPont, Angela Braly of WellPoint, Anne Lauvergeon of France's Areva, and Lynn Elsenhans of Sunoco. Number 5 is Singapore's Ho Ching, who leads Tamasek, the city-state's sovereign wealth fund.
At number 36, Hillary Rodham Clinton is the highest-ranking woman U.S. government leader, followed by First Lady Michelle Obama at number 40, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano (#51), newly sworn Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor (#54) and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (#56). Poor 16-year Supreme Court veteran Ruth Bader Ginsberg didn't make it into the top 100 this year [time to work that publicist, Justice G!].
Of course you're now wondering, as I did, but what about Oprah?? Well, Forbes opted to give women media figures their own list this year, based upon how much money they earn, how many media mentions they receive, how big of an audience they reach [size still matters!] and how many Facebook/Twitter followers they've got. Topping the Most Influential Women in Media list by a landslide is, naturally, Lady O, followed by ABC's 63-year-old Diane Sawyer and 79-year-old (!) Barbara Walters.
Rounding out the top twelve of a list of 30: talk-show hostesses Ellen Degeneres and Tyra Banks [#5 － really?!?], NBC's Meredith Vieira and Ann Curry, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric, domestic goddess Martha Stewart [#9, and Tyra's #5 － something's gone terribly awry!], spunky chef Rachael Ray, The Ladies of The View, and blogging post-mistress Arianna Huffington. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow [to whom I'm offering a special shoutout, because I love her] ranked midway at 15th.